Natural Flava: Quick & Easy Plant-Based Caribbean Recipes

Craig and Shaun McAnuff. Bloomsbury, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5266-3187-9
The London-raised McAnuff brothers, after exploring their Jamaican roots in Original Flava, bring their vibrant Caribbean flair to the world of vegan cooking. Though framed as an ode to Rastafarian Ital food, the book ranges much wider, with sweet and sour tofu “fakeaway” (their spin on Chinese takeout); a “wellington” of vegan puff pastry encasing butternut squash; and a faux roast made with wheat gluten, maple syrup, and hot sauce. The dishes inspired by their heritage (such as buss up shut, a popular roti said to resemble a “torn t-shirt”) prove decidedly delicious, underscoring the brothers’ knack for breezy instructions and clever substitutions: canned banana blossom stands in for poultry in their spicy fried “chicken,” while twice-fried tofu coated in seaweed convincingly poses as escovitch “fish.” A standout chapter on curries draws inspiration from Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, while another on barbecue features a grilled fruit platter with jerk spices. The logic behind packaged vs. fresh (pastry patties use canned callaloo, but pepper pot soup requires fresh) gets fuzzy, but the book’s minor bumps are smoothed out by a notable array of desserts and drinks—such as their apple crumble with plantains and “fortifying” Irish moss with Guinness. Those looking to cut down on meat and up their spice intake should pick this up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/18/2021
Release date: 03/01/2022
Genre: Lifestyle
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